Who Wants to Purchase a Green Home and Why?
As the climate crisis intensifies, more and more people are looking to live sustainably. This has brought a spike in the demand for eco-friendly homes. According to research by home-builder Redrow, 82 percent of buyers also said that they would be willing to pay more for a sustainable home over a traditional one. What’s more, in an interview with the CEO and CMO of Rohe Homes, a sustainable building company, they shared that people looking for greener homes “could be a millennial that’s looking to move out and start a family, or it could be a retiree looking for a simple one-floor that provides for their needs.” Simply put, the market for eco-friendly homes is sizable and spans all age-ranges.
This article outlines best practices for marketing eco-friendly homes to the large and growing pool of eco-conscious home buyers.
Tips On How to Market Eco-Friendly Homes
- Consider Specializing in the Eco-Friendly Home Market
- Showcase the Environmental Impacts of Eco-Friendly Homes
- Showcase the Health Benefits of Eco-Friendly Homes
- Understand the Financial Pros and Cons of Eco-Friendly Homes
- Use Varied Marketing Channels to Reach Multiple Age Demographics
Consider Specializing in the Eco-Friendly Home Market
Sales is about trust and being true to what you’re selling. Thus, making your real estate practice focused on the green home market will show eco-conscious clients that you’re the go-to agency for sustainable real estate. There are many different sustainable home models and aspects in today’s market that you can specialize in.
One model that is gaining traction in the green home market is prefab, modular homes. These homes are ‘prefab,’ meaning they are built in factories and are then shipped to the site where they are set up. Modular homes can be put together like LEGO blocks, so one could add on more rooms to a home without a costly rebuild. Rohe Homes is one such company leading the way with this innovative model. Consider specializing in modular, prefab homes as your expertise – their cost-effectiveness and scalable design has many experts saying they’re the future of sustainable homes.
Another area of the green housing market you can specialize in are retrofitted homes. Retrofits are traditional homes that have been renovated to include sustainable materials and to be more energy- and water-efficient. Retrofits offer the cost-savings and health benefits of eco-friendly homes without the large price tag of newly-built green homes.
These up-and-coming green homes are just a couple of examples of how the real estate industry is pivoting to be more sustainable and support a green housing market. By choosing to specialize in sustainable homes or a single aspect such as energy efficiency, you can take the lead in changing real estate trends and stand out from the competition.
Showcase the Environmental Impacts of Eco-Friendly Homes
Simply, eco-friendly homes consume less energy than traditional homes due to better insulation, updated HVAC systems, the installation of automated technology (i.e. smart thermostats) and the opportunity for renewable energy generation. However, energy efficiency is far from the only environmental benefit that they provide.
Eco-friendly homes significantly benefit the environment through the use of sustainable materials in their construction. By utilizing wood framing, low-emissions concrete, and recycled materials, for example, these homes have a lower carbon footprint and release low to no pollution, and, in the case of wood framing, can support carbon sequestration efforts. In addition to using sustainable materials, green homes use less of these materials and generate less waste through a more efficient design and building process.
Sustainable homes also help address water scarcity. Eco-friendly homes use far less water than traditional homes in a variety of ways such as rainwater capture, grey water reuse for irrigation and landscaping, and the installation of low-flow faucets, shower heads, toilets and other water-saving appliances. As drought periods are anticipated to intensify over time, having such home features will certainly be a value-add.
Highlighting all of these benefits in the marketing of your eco-friendly homes will help convince prospects that buying a green home can lower their utility bills and make a significant difference on the world’s environmental challenges.
Showcase the Health Benefits of Sustainable Homes
As the old adage “health is wealth” goes, staying healthy is a top priority for most people. Homebuyers will be happy to hear how purchasing an eco-friendly home can provide them with significant physical and mental health benefits.
First, eco-friendly homes use low- or no-volatile organic compound (VOC) paints. Commonly found in many paints and other indoor furnishing products, VOCs are chemical compounds that evaporate or “off gas” into the air. Airborne VOCs can be inhaled, causing irritation, headache and more serious side effects on the liver, kidney and central nervous system. Some VOCs cannot be detected through odor alone, making it difficult for homeowners and buyers to really know if their residence is safe.
By choosing a sustainable home through a credible agency, homebuyers can avoid VOC-related health conditions and live healthier lives. Smog Armor specializes in no-VOC paints, making them a great choice for painting home exteriors and interiors.
Sustainable homes are efficient by design and often utilize natural sunlight as a method for passive heating as well as reducing the energy needed to use lights. As a side-benefit, natural light can improve one’s mood and set the stage for a good-night’s sleep.
Understand the Financial Opportunities and Challenges of Eco-Friendly Homes
There are several financial opportunities and benefits for homebuyers choosing a sustainable home:
- Lower utility bills – Energy- and water-saving design and technology has allowed for significantly lower utility bills in green homes. In fact, sustainable homes can end up reducing monthly bills by up to 20%-30%. Also, these savings could be much higher in the future as resource scarcity worsens and energy and water costs increase.
- Higher resale value – More people are factoring environmental impacts into their purchasing decisions. The increasing demand for eco-friendly homes coupled with today’s limited (but growing) supply indicates that your clients will be able to sell their green home for much more than they paid for it.
- Lower maintenance costs – Designed to last for generations, truly sustainable homes are made from materials that tend to be much more durable than traditional building materials. This means less maintenance costs over time.
However, given the infancy of the green home market, purchasing a sustainable home does come with its own challenges:
- High up-front investment – The main barrier your clients face when acquiring the green home of their dreams is a high up-front cost. Because of the sustainable materials used, the new and trending technologies installed and the infancy of the green housing market, sustainable homes cost more to build. However, many state and federal governments are beginning to offer purchase rebates for sustainable home technologies such as solar panels and water-efficient fixtures. See if there are incentives available in your area that offer financial support for purchasing a green home.
Use Varied Marketing Channels to Reach Multiple Age Demographics
Considering the fact that eco-friendly homes are desired by a wide range of demographics, you should ensure that your marketing tactics ‘cast the net wide.’ Here are a variety of marketing tactics for targeting homebuyers of different ages.
Many retirees and older homebuyers may not have the same level of exposure to advertising – on TV, social media, email, radio – like younger generations. More traditional advertising mediums like newspaper and magazine ads, signage and billboards may reach this demographic more effectively. However, make sure you stay aligned with your sustainability values and avoid wasteful advertising methods like mail-out flyers. For older homebuyers who want to leave the planet intact for their great grandchildren, this can create some doubt about whether you truly are a sustainable realtor. If you think mail-out flyers or another resource-heavy advertising method is the best way to reach your target audience, invest in recycled paper and sustainable inks.
There are endless possibilities when using digital marketing to target the younger demographic. To reach a broad range of potential clients, you can post your advertisements on Dwell, a homeowners online magazine. To target eco-friendly prospects more specifically, treehugger.com is a great choice. And don’t forget to create targeting ads to reach online users everywhere. With Google Ads, you can specify which websites your ads appear on, making reaching prospects a breeze.
Social media marketing is another excellent channel for younger demographics. Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter all have ad services, and are very popular amongst the age-range of “just-moving-out” to the “middle-aged buyer.” Ensure you use a variety of channels to gain traction and attract a wide demographic of green homebuyers.
Greenwashing is a deceptive sales tactic where one misleads a prospect to believe a product/service is more environmentally friendly than it truly is. In real estate, this could be a realtor trying to sell a house as sustainable even though the only green aspect of the home is its LED lighting.
Being seen as a greenwasher can be disastrous for a realtor’s reputation given how integral trust is in the buyer-seller relationship. Be a part of every stage of the home building and buying process. Talk with contractors to ensure a sustainable construction process and work to make your own office and staff aligned with the best green real estate practices.
An additional way to avoid greenwashing is by earning a green business certification for your agency. Having a green business certification reflects your credibility and commitment to sustainability, gaining the trust of homebuyers and your community.
Amongst the many benefits and opportunities of selling eco-friendly homes, the biggest challenge is deciding how to most effectively market them to prospective buyers. The tips laid out in this article can help you identify which area of sustainable homes you want to specialize in, what your target market is and the do’s and don’ts of green real estate.
About The Author
GBB Green Ambassador
Dylan West is a content creator for the Green Business Bureau who is passionate about the pursuit of a better future through sustainable business. He is currently working toward an undergraduate degree in Business Management from the University of Western Ontario in Canada. Outside of his professional life, Dylan enjoys playing sports and exploring the natural splendor that surrounds his home in Vancouver.